This art project is a Bitcoin treasure hunt
I invite you to participate in my Bitcoin treasure hunt. This art project consists of a collage of images which is also a visual riddle.
The first person to solve the riddle gains access to a Bitcoin treasure.
I have hidden an amount of bitcoins in a digital wallet and to get the passphrase that unlocks this wallet you will have to decode the hidden meaning in the artwork.
Get the artwork
You can download a big version of the artwork here
How does the treasure hunt work?
The artwork I sell is a collage of many images. Each image corresponds to a word. There are 12 special words and once a person has collected them they will be able to gain access to the Bitcoin wallet where the treasure is stored.
This is done by entering the 12 words in the right order into the Bitcoin wallet software called Electrum. It is up to the public to figure out how to connect the images to the special words. Note that it is a quite hard quest to solve and I encourage the use of computer tools to automate the process.
Once the quest is solved the winner gains access to the Bitcoins and is able to move them to their own wallet. After that the treasure is empty and there is no prize for subsequent users that may solve the quest.
Currently the bitcoins are worth 150 USD (May 2018).
Bitcoin speculation vs. art world speculation
“I have created this artwork to be speculative on purpose. As the price of Bitcoin rises of falls so will the value of this artwork. In this way my artwork becomes a commentary on how the artworld is a speculative economy just like the Bitcoin economy. People invest in Bitcoin in the hope of reaping a quick reward and some commercial parts of the art economy are certainly driven by similar motives.”
“There’s an unhealthy environment in the artworld where hype and celebrity becomes important than the quality of the art itself. This happens because the underlying economy of the art world is highly speculative and some people buy artworks purely as an investment thereby driving the prices of certain artworks to astronomical levels.”
The small print
As the artist I promise not to move the treasure at any time.
You can check if the Bitcoin treasure is still there. Enter this address in the search field at blockchain.info:
How to restore a wallet based on the 12 word seed using Electrum (order of words are important).
This project was originally created in collaboration with Dias Kunsthal. The clues to the treasure hunt were placed in different locations in the Copenhagen Metro during the Copenhagen Art Week 2018.
About the artist
Vibeke Bertelsen is a digital artist and creative coder living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since 2010 she has been a part of artist collective Obscura Vertigo creating large scale visual installations and lighting design projects domestically and internationally. Apart from these large projects she creates web based experiences and short animations for Instagram (attracting several thousands of followers).
Vibeke is fascinated with the way the human experience is transformed by digital technologies. Her art questions the gap between real and virtual, flesh and data. Vibekes work is post internet art showcasing her use of digital visuals to investigate the human experience in the internet age.
Vibekes work has been displayed at multiple film festivals and her previous interactive piece Valley of Uncanny #01 received positive attention from idN Magazine and Prosthetic Knowledge when it was released online.